The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
2021 BHL Annual Meeting
This year, as it did in 2020, BHL hosted its 2021 Annual Meeting virtually. Forty-three BHL partner representatives attended the meeting, which included staff reports from Secretariat and Executive Committee members, a "Tour of the Room" for partners to share BHL-relevant "lessons learned" during 2020, and partner discussion sessions.

Margaret S. Collins: A Legend in Termite Field Biology
Dr. Margaret S. Collins (1922-1996) was a renowned expert on termite ecology and distribution. Over her almost 50 year career, Collins taught as a professor at multiple universities and was a research associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History from 1983 to 1996. Her fieldwork is documented in her field books, which are available in BHL thanks to the Smithsonian Institution Archives, part of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.

BHL Day 2021
As part of its 2021 Annual Meeting, BHL hosted a virtual BHL Day 2021. Themed “Reflections in Crises”, the public event included sessions reflecting on BHL’s roles in addressing the biodiversity crisis, challenges arising from COVID-19, and systemic racism in natural history collections.

The program featured the following sessions:
  • Opening Keynote: Biodiversity at a Tipping Point. Presented by Dr. Ian Owens (Deputy Director, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution).
  • Partner Reflection Panel: Finding Opportunities During a Global Pandemic. Featuring representatives from five BHL partner institutions.
  • Closing Keynote: Decolonizing Strategies for an Equitable Biodiversity Heritage Library. Presented by Lidia Ponce de la Vega (Doctoral Candidate (ABD) and DH Course Lecturer, McGill University).

The Garden: A Place to Learn and Experiment
Looking for gardening advice? Vick's Flower and Vegetable Garden (1878) is filled with practical suggestions for home gardens, ideas for floral decor, and detailed information about and tips for growing specific plants—plus it’s filled with gorgeous chromolithographs.

Hidden Biodiversity: Exploring Neotropical Fungus Weevils With the Help of BHL
Entomologist Samanta Orellana has been studying insects for more than a decade. Her research focuses on fungus weevils, for which she recently published a catalogue of species from Panama. BHL is a vital resource for Orellana's research.

Notes from Nature: The Biodiversity Heritage Collections
The 2021 BHL Annual Meeting concluded with a special closing event organized by the National Library Singapore and Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN), France in partnership with BHL. Notes from Nature: The Biodiversity Heritage Collections shared how Singapore and France have worked together in advancing biodiversity literature, digitization and public outreach efforts.

The event included presentations by:
  • Ms. Tan Huism (Senior Director, National Library Singapore)
  • Dr. Clément Oury (Head of Conservation, Restauration and Digitization Service, MNHN Library)

View presentation recordings:

Graceanna Lewis: A Naturalist and Abolitionist
Graceanna Lewis was one of the first professionally acknowledged women naturalists, an abolitionist and a social reformer who worked for the advancement of science as well as human rights. Lewis' primary scientific focus was in ornithology, on which she published several works. Many of her publications are available in BHL.

Introducing BHL's Persistent Identifier Working Group
In October 2020, BHL launched a new working group with a momentous goal: to make the content on BHL persistently discoverable, citable and trackable using DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers). A DOI is a unique permanent identifier that provides a persistent link to a digital object. Assigning DOIs to BHL content helps bring the world’s legacy biodiversity literature into the modern linked network of scholarly research.

Women in Historical SciArt: BHL Empowers Research on Women in Scientific Illustration
Historical SciArt, created by independent researcher Michelle Marshall, is a research initiative dedicated to women in historic scientific illustration. BHL is a vital resource that helps empower Marshall's research on women in science.

Celebrating Earth Day 2021
Since its inaugural event on 22 April 1970, Earth Day has grown into an international annual celebration of the Earth and a movement to raise awareness about and support for environmental protection. This year, several of BHL's global partners selected titles from the BHL collection to commemorate Earth Day. These titles highlight the richness of our planet's biodiversity—past and present—and remind us of the importance of protecting the wonderful, wild, and beautiful life on Earth.

The Collecting Net and the Last Heath Hen
The heath hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido) was declared extinct in 1932. "The Last Heath Hen," published within The Collecting Net—a weekly summertime newspaper presented by the social MBL Club at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) from 1926-1953—documents the last individual of the species.

This Bird Illustration Does Not Exist: The BHL Flickr Meets Artificial Intelligence
Do you recognize these birds? No? That's because they're generated with artificial intelligence. Web developer Emily Oliver shares how she used illustrations from the BHL Flickr to create "new" birds using machine learning with a StyleGAN!

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